tv The Chris Matthews Show NBC October 9, 2011 11:00am-11:30am EDT
>> this is "the chris matthews show." >> ask not what your country can do for you. >> tear down this wall. >> i can hear you. >> the time for change has come! chris: three possible presidents. barack obama is one choice. and a year from now voters will say yea or nay to him. the other two choices, barring a lightning strike, it's romney or perry. it's down to three guys who might be president. no love for romney. how can a party fueled by the tea parties pick romney who would never be caught dead at a tea party meeting, who won't recite the tea party creed that
barack obama is a socialist. and finally, dance being in the streets, has the left found its voice? has the anger over joblessness and wall street greed finally awoken the sleeping giant? and can it find a leader and can it be the man in the white house? hi. i'm chris matthews. welcome to the show. with us today, hdnet, dan rather, bbc's katty kay. bloomberg tv's lizzie o'leary. and the huffington post, howard fineman. first up, a year and a month from now we will either say yes to a new four-year term for president obama or turn the job over to either mitt romney or rick perry. that's now. what it looks like is the true choice. the latest polls are very tough for president obama. 55% of voters say they do not believe he will win. so if you're romney, on top in g.o.p. polls you might be very hopeful. but not so fast, mitt. consider these reasons why it still could be rick perry. first, perry's got more debates to come. his big drop came after debate mistakes.
romney won three in a row and can't budge above 25%. what happens if perry has a good debate? also, perry's got cash to hang in there. he raised a hefty $17 million in just the first few weeks. and finally, so far, mitt romney is not drinking the tea. his refusal to join the tea party and lead them to perry and dan, that's my big question. it looks like it's still a big fight on that side. those two. >> i think it is a big fight. perry is wounded but not slain. not yet. he only needs one good debate in my judgment. one good debate and he turns it around. i'm not saying he's going to be the nominee. but it's a mistake to underestimate him. he can stay the distance. he has the money and as a campaigner, very good campaigner and he is at his core one tough hombre. and i was wrong about the possibility that he would get in the race. i didn't think he would get in. but since he's been in, i think he's been fairly impressive from his standpoint. that is, appealing to the core constituency of the party. and i know there are a lot of
people say oh, my god, the party, rick perry, don't count this guy out. in terms of the debate, he's an aggie from texas a&m and one of their slogans is we don't always learn fast but we learn good. chris: let's say, can he turn it all around by next tuesday in that first big debate? >> yeah. somebody who raises $17 million in the last couple of months, clearly has an appeal within the party, right? people are giving him this money because they want him to be the next president. and there is without -- chris: are you saying money talks? >> i think money follows where people want their votes to go. and people wouldn't be getting in that kind of sums of money otherwise. and it's clear, we know this. that there is a large segment of the republican party that is very angry about the direction of the country. very angry about this president. and they want radical change. they don't want somebody who feels to them a little bit like barack obama light. chris: you're part of that whole operation coming up. >> i am. >> "washington post" and bloomberg. very establishment press. is the focus, can you tell us ahead of time, is the focus
going to be on perry? it seems like he's the one in the limelight and he has to deliver. this is a big night. >> he has to deliver and lay out some sort of economic plan. because that's kind of been a vacuum. he can't do the saturday night live caricature of falling asleep at the podium a la alec baldwin. chris: halftime. >> he can't go to sleep in the second half. and mitt romney, zing him a couple of times which he will be eager to do. chris: you agree it will be the focus on him. >> absolutely. chris: howard, get into this. let me show you this and let you respond. romney so far turned away from a full embrace of the tea party. that's what makes this interesting. even when asked if he's one of them. >> i don't think you carry cards in the tea party. so if the tea party is for keeping government small, and spending down, and helping us create jobs, then hey, i'm foreign the tea party. chris: so put it to the matthews meter. what will come first? will romney court the tea party or will the tea party back
romney first? 11 say of our group including you, howard, that romney is going to have to make the first move in this romance. and he's going to have to become something like a tea partier. >> he has to sh the first move and he should be making it now. and i'm somewhat mystified talking to his aides as to why they aren't. instead, they're focusing on more of a general election strategy. he gave a big speech at the citadel in south carolina this week about the romney doctrine. ok. you don't declare doctrines before you have won the nomination. or that is even before the first primary. so it's a classic i'm the establishment guy. thinking. he needs to be wooing them out now and he's not flick. and all of the dynamics of the succeeding days, weeks and months will be the diplomacy between mitt romney and the tea party. but he needs to start the diplomacy now and he's not. chris: and we're still in football season. he's looking ahead to the next game. >> he's running in the next. chris: katty, supposed to be a hard question.
what's a better bet? that romney becomes a convincing tea partier, mitt romney, or perry learns how to debate? >> the latter. it's much easier to learn how to debate than it is to fundamentally persuade voters that you have shifted your political identity. and that is what mitt romney would have to do. and i'm not convinced, although i voted with howard on the meter, i'm still not convinced that even if mitt romney started now, making the move toward the tea party, they would ever fall in love with him. chris: what would the tea party rather have, four more years of kicking the hell out of obama or eight years of mitt romney? >> a tough call. chris: do they really want eight years of mitt romney? >> they don't want mitt romney. and to mix our met fors -- meta fors here, it doesn't -- no matter how many times the tea party takes out romney on a date, i can't go for this guy. that's where they are. they detest obama. any republican, even romney.
but one thing interject here, overnight is a long team in politics. a week is forever. still more than a year before the election. so many things can happen. chris: there's obviously a reason why romney is not willing to marry the tea party. he is holding back as howard says, playing for higgs fight with obama. at some point he has to decide does he want to win the nomination or look ahead and try to win the election before he even gets there, right? >> i think so but he's also very conscious of winning the money. remember, we saw all of these wall street donors holding back around the chris christie dance. they're not always enamored of the tea party, either. even though they might share some of the anti-obama sentiment, they like mitt romney. they want their money with mitt romney. that feels like to them a steadier hand on the tiller. >> and since chris christie decided not to run, who is the new york manhattan favorite, and the wall street favorite, mitt romney starting to get a lot of that money. the feeling inside the romney camp is yeah, yeah, tea party, tea party but we're getting the primaries and caucuses moved up
to an earlier timetable which favors people like us with money and organization. they think -- they think they can win it on money and organization and pace and worry about the tea party later. >> romney strategy keep your head on, carry on as you are and be as authentic as mitt romney is to what your portions have been and don't try to persuade the tea party that you're their candidate and the others stumble which has happened. and doesn't make anybody fall in love with you. >> has romney ever won a republican primary? chris: not in the south or border states. >> in the south he can't whistle dixie. >> that's one of the main reasons rick perry sprichede dan and a lot of us and i didn't think he would get in, either, and got in the race. if you look at the primary setup, the south obviously is crucial. it's the home of the modern republican party. and romney, because of who he is, where he's from, and what his background is and has a -- chris: this show seems to be bucking the conventional wisdom which i love that it's doing that this is romney's.
>> about two or three months ago, said romney is the odds on favorite. i think he still is the odds on favorite. but let's keep in mind, he's a 25% favorable among republicans. not a crin of for him. -- not a cinch for him. perry is a very dangerous predator when he gets on top. and if he wins one of these debates, no sense for romney, this is an ideal situation for someone else still to get in. chris: let's talk about it. who hasn't gotten in that should have gotten in in terms of this opportunity you mentioned? >> it beats me. i can't imagine -- chris: would haley, jeb bush, would -- >> jeb bush would have done better. someone like marco rubio in florida. trump getting back in. chris: you think trump was a credible possibility as a nominee. >> as a matter of fact, i do. i think he was credible possibility. chris: who didn't in that shouldn't have gotten in when you look back in hindsight? >> i think still crist cyst was probably the one that -- chris christie was probably the one
that had the best chance to upset the cart. a cast of people who are plus four years interesting. but -- chris: you don't think the obvious people -- >> jeb bush, and he's still a bush. >> i totally agree with lizzi but for jeb bush. he's the only game changer that didn't get in. this is the crowd that they've got. chris: i think rather four more years of pushing obama further into -- further out of the race and out of power and controlling the congress, and then grabbing it with a real tea party for eight years. they don't want to turn this over to another establishment character for eight years like mitt romney. they would have lost the great opportunity. >> time will show whether the tea party is a fundamentally purist or pragmatist. if they're pragmatist they will go for romney because they think he has the best chance of winning. >> and how well organized they are. the tea party -- let's see how they actually perform. in the primaries. let's see if they're organized. chris: it's not settled. before we break, one reason mitt romney hasn't shot to the front of the republican race has been his own blandness. we keep hearing those people complaining that he's ok but he
lacks excitement. romney, hardly the first presidential candidate to have a personality problem. think richard nixon. but in 1968, nixon found salvation if you will on the hit nbc show "laugh-in." ♪ sock it to me ♪ >> sock it to me? [laughter] chris: jerry ford was a more likable guy but he was in big trouble running in 1976. he went on "saturday night live" to show he got all those chevy chase prattfalls and ridicules of him on the air. >> good evening. i'm chevy chase and you're not. good evening. i'm gerald forled. and you're not. -- jarled ford. and you're not. chris: that was convincing. even john mccain had a cameo in "wedding crashers." it wasn't out of character for mccain to joke around but it didn't hurt to show up in a big hit when he was ramping up his second run for the white house. history not lost on mitt
romney. in 2008 the romney kids, his children, decided to take matters into their own hands. here you see them pranking their dad. even though his reaction wasn't everything they wanted, they posted the video on their website. >> you got to imagine right now he's feeling stressed. the day before the michigan primary. everyone is saying it's a do or die for him which i don't know that i totally agree with. but he's got to do well. so let's help him relax a little bit. and give minimum a call -- give him a call from governor schwarzenegger. maybe he thinks he will get an endorsement. >> governor? governor of california. >> governor, mitt romney, how are you? >> hi. how are you? >> i'm just fine, governor. how are you doing today? >> good. good. >> what can i do for you? >> first, i would like to just get to know you. >> well, we've had the chance -- >> i'm going to ask you a bunch of questions. and i want to have them answered immediately.
>> go right ahead and shoot. >> my partisanship always, my principles of leadership, process, over politics. >> well, i don't think anyone can disagree with that. >> who is your daddy and what does he do? chris: i don't know what to make of it. this time romney is working on closing the personality gap. he came up with in stunt for the cameras earlier this year. >> see if i get my arms around everybody. oh, come on. much closer. much closer. [laughter] chris: ok. goofy. but at least he's trying. anyway, when we come back, could the wall street protests mobilize the left like the tea party harnessed the right? are the protests helping barack obama by directing anger away from washington and toward wall street? plus, scoops and predictions right from the notebooks of these top reporters.
chris: welcome back. those wall street protests that spread around the country might be the start of a movement on the left that could mirror the tea party on the right. for months, the left has heard mostly in the hush of bloggers' keyboards clicking away in frustration. but now the streets are alive with people finding connections on twitter, and the web, and turning out. dan rather has a special on this coming up on hdnet. and their cameras got this from one of the protests' pop-up organizers. >> tarp, we need them now. oh, my god. 9,000 people. it's great. we keep going. instant response. and the effect of that is we're here. we're not going away. and it's huge. it's huge. >> is this going to become a movement?
>> it could. one reason that it could come a mirror image of the tea party on the left and toward the center is because the tea party's -- what's wrong with the country is overreaching by the federal government. this group, the pro testors wall street take the view that it's primarily financial community running wild and the greed of wall street and the bankers. it has the potential, mark the word, potential, to be on the left and edge into the center of what the people -- what the tea party is doing on the right. chris: this is about inequality. the realization that some people in this country at the top are billionaires. not everybody is in this together. how -- can the president tap into -- is he doing anything that is convincing that he is angry at this inequality? >> using the language. we're starting to here him call himself a warrior on the campaign trail. we heard it in his press conference this week. in support of a 5% extra tax on millionaires. he's trying to sound like he's the populist because he thinks that's a good vote winner. chris: but did you hear him say
i'm comfortable with that? he didn't sound like he was really emotionally sharing the anger. >> i'm not sure. he is sounding more comfortable with it than you might think he would have done a year ago. chris: ok. >> he's sounding like he can be the populist. and i think what's driving it actually is his anger and frustration with the republican party and congress have -- rather than -- chris: interesting thing, biden this week and we're saying that basically the anger over the bailouts of the automatic moatives and the big financial institutions unites the tea party anger who are mad at it and mad at the government for playing its role. and the left is mad that the beneficiaries of all that largess, the big institutions, on wall street. how could obama join in that protest when he's behind a lot of these bailouts? >> the second round of them certainly. and they have a real problem there. because they also never effectively communicated why in their mind bolstering the financial system with extra money helped. why it made a difference. chris: for people.
>> for people. they didn't explain it. so they view the two as twins. chris: howard, great questions historically for you. what happens if the democrats, the president, on down, the congress, the democrats, join up with the protesters? what's the risk? >> there are two risks. first of all, despite what dan said, it's also true that these protesters don't particularly like barack obama, either. so he could be riding in to join an army that doesn't particularly want him. and of course the other side of it is republicans are already positioning themselves, you showed a clip of richard nixon from a generation ago, as the law and order group. and if the president joins up with the protesters, and if by any chance the protesters do anything untoward, in months ahead -- chris: violence. >> yes. chris: like the mid 1960's. the democrats got hurt by that. dan, your show is on tuesday on hdnet.
chris: welcome back. dan, tell me something i don't know. >> the real moving force behind this -- what's happening in the wall street protesters and efforts spread around the country is a woman operating out of her apartment in new york. she's brilliant with the internet. she goes under the plume of grim. and grim is the real leader of this movement. operatinging out of her apartment. she is internet savvy and whether it succeeds or fails she's the key. chris: katty. >> steve jobs has been mourned of course all around the world. this week. and in asia, he was huge. here in america, writing his
biography, hard to imagine a better person to be writing a book about steve jocks. chris: because he wrote about ben franklin. >> and his books are thoughtful, intelligent, well researched. going to be a great book. >> you know we have an unemployment crisis and everybody knows that. there is a secret one underneath that. which is all the veterans of iraq and afghanistan, that are unemployment is trending two, three, in the case of women vets, 5%, almost 6% higher than the national average. about hatch a dozen bills died in -- about half a dozen bills died in congress. chris: you would think they would settle with republicans. >> they haven't. >> if mitt romney succeeds in his strategy, this show in the spring and summer is going to be about the third party or even fourth party candidacies. chris: on the right. >> on the right and left. there's a group called americans elect that will try to nominate its own candidate. the tea party, depending on how they organize and how effective they are and what they think the scene is, could have their own. we're just beginning what is now a three-phased --
chris: peesm, it's doable to get -- people, it's doable to get on the ballot. >> much easier than it used to be. financial rules make it easier. if it's romney against obama, there will definitely be a third party candidate. chris: shades of 1948. henry wallace, strom thurmond, harry truman and tom dewey. big four. why are president obama and vice president biden talking down their chances? why are they calling themselves the underdogs? be right back.
chris: welcome back. this week president obama and vice president biden talked down their chances. >> the majority of americans, 55% think you'll be a one-term president. are you the underdog now? >> absolutely. >> the american people are dissatisfied with the state of the nation at the moment. that all by itself is enough to make you the underdog. chris: which brings us to this week's big question. was that smart? dan rather. >> they're not the underdogs or overdogs. it's even money and that's what they can't to cast themselves as the underdog but an
incumbent president is never the underdog this early. >> katty. >> you can call yourself what you like. if you don't produce jocks by the time of next year -- produce jobs by the time of next year -- chris: talking themselves down had >> i don't think it makes a difference. >> i don't think it makes a difference. it's the economy. they hone it. >> i think it does make a difference. chris: strategy. >> it's smart if they're prepared to act like it. if they have the urgency of underdogs, to take the case to the american people, then yes. it's a smart strategy. chris: thanks for a great roundtable. dan rather, katty kay. and congratulations on becoming the number one anchor of bbc world news america. and lizzie o'leary, welcome to the crowd. and howard fineman, my pal. thank you again. that's the show. thanks for watching. that's the show. thanks for watching. we're going to see you